Microphone Selections for Recording Cymbals

There are several schools of thought here. 1. The standard stereo overhead using either a stereo mic or a x-y configuration. 2. Two mics in cardioid, over the left and right crash cymbals. 3. One mic per cymbal with a no holds barred use as many mics as you want kinda thing. These mics would be small capsule condensers.

Here are some suggestions – Neumann KM 184, Shure SM 81, KSM 137, KSM 141, KSM 32. A note about the High Hat. Same type of microphone aimed away from the snare drum (if possible) but towards the area between the center and the edge of the cymbal. You may need to play with the orientation depending on cymbals and style of playing.

What are YOUR favorite microphones to use for recording the cymbals?

. Record . Mix . Master . Music .

Mic-ing the Toms

Micing the tom toms are pretty straight forward provided you have enough room to place them, while keeping out of the drummers way.

I like to use the Sennheiser MD421 mics. They give you a nice warm mellow sound. And if you tweek the EQ around 4 to 6k you can get the attack of the tom to come thru nicely. SM 57’s work fairly well too. The new special tom mics from Sennheiser (e604 & e904) and Shure (Beta 56) do pretty well also. When micing a floor tom or larger drums try using a large diaphragm mic like the Shure Beta 52 or the AKG D112 or the Sennheiser e602 this will help to capture the lower tones of the drum.

What are YOUR favorite methods for recording the toms?

. Record . Mix . Master . Music .

More Drum Mic-ing Tips

When tracking drums it’s a good idea to take pics of the kit throughout the process so you’ll have a visual reference later on. Sometimes things can get moved & switched around, & if that happens be sure to list that info on your track sheet. These small details can be easy to forget when you move on to the mixing process however,
it will help you to pin point any trouble mic’s if issues arise. 😉

Send in pics of your recording setups & I will post a gallery of them at some point.

. Record . Mix . Master . Music .
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